To consider the following Homes related reports scheduled for Cabinet consideration on 29 September 2021:
· BCP Housing Strategy 2021-2026 "Our commitment to our communities"
· Council Newbuild Housing & Acquisition Strategy (CNHAS), 2021-2026
The O&S Board is asked to scrutinise the reports and make recommendations to Cabinet as appropriate.
Cabinet member invited to attend for this item: Councillor Robert Lawton, Portfolio Holder for Homes and Councillor Philip Broadhead, Portfolio Holder for Regernation
The Cabinet report for this item is included with the agenda for consideration by the Overview and Scrutiny Board.
BCP Housing Strategy 2021-2026 "Our commitment to our communities" – The Portfolio Holder for Homespresented a report, a copy of which had been circulated to each member of the Board and a copy of which appears as Appendix 'A' to these minutes in the Minute Book. The Portfolio Holder and officers addressed a number of points raised by the Board including:
The Chairman summarised that whilst a number of issues had been raised the overall the Housing Strategy was welcomed. The Chairman thanked Officers and the Portfolio Holder for their responses.
Council Newbuild Housing and Acquisition Strategy – (CNHAS), 2021-26 – The Portfolio Holder for Homespresented a report, a copy of which had been circulated to each member of the Board and a copy of which appears as Appendix 'B' to these minutes in the Minute Book. The Portfolio Holder and officers addressed a number of points raised by the Board including:
· A Board member asked for confirmation that Templeman House was social housing. It was confirmed that this was designated for social rent and it was explained that affordable housing was often used to cover all types of affordable housing, including social rent and shared ownership.
· The majority of housing coming forward in 2022/23, would be for social rent, a total of 49 homes out of 89. The five-year programme would include a mix of affordable and social. Statistics would be brought to full council year on year.
· A Councillor commented that affordable housing would not get people of off the housing register and asked whether there had been any study of what the requirements of those on the housing register were, in order to help shape what might be built on a particular site.
· A concern was raised over the definition of what ‘adequately housed’ meant and whether the detail of what people required from housing had been considered. There was also the hidden homeless and those in unsustainable housing, who were paying rents above what they could afford, to take into consideration.
· A Board Member asked for further detail on how the Council would actively try to retain homes within the Council’s housing stock. It was noted that there were criteria which would be used to determine whether someone can apply to buy their home.
· The space for one bedroom accommodation did not provide a lot of room for people to live comfortably and sustainably. These were listed as bronze standard. There was an aim for 40 percent of builds to meet the silver standard and 10 percent should reach the gold standard.
· In terms of environmental standards it was noted that A and B standards would be the target for all new builds. All applications would be required to meet disabled standards.
· A Board member queried why the Council was investing in a sales and marketing manager when demand for homes was so high. It was noted that income generation was important for the Council and would help to keep Council Tax rates down.
· A Board member commented that the sustainability assessment had marked the paper as amber, which indicated minor negative impacts and questioned why this was proceeding if there were negative impacts.
· It was noted that there were certain areas which it was not possible to be definitive about and therefore it was recommended that it should be given an amber rating. It was noted that there were developments underway such as Luckham House which would be almost zero carbon.
· There was a query around the design guidance in relation to outside space, the importance of which had been amplified by the impact of covid. It was suggested that an amendment could be made to the document on this basis and the Portfolio Holder supported this suggestion.
The Chairman expressed his thanks to officers for a well-presented report and was pleased to hear that work on new social housing builds would be moving forward.
Following this item, the meeting was adjourned at 4.00pm resumed at 4.07pm